The Cde Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance has said it has penetrated Zanu PF strongholds in rural areas and was confident of gaining significant votes in the 2023 general elections.

Cde Happymore Chidziva, the MDC Alliance secretary for rural mobilisation and strategy told NewsDay that his party was making significant inroads in rural areas ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The opposition party, since its inception in 1999, has not fared well in rural areas against Zanu PF. The ruling party has been losing in urban centres, depending on rural voters for its stay in power, largely because of the land reform programme and abuse of traditional leaders.

Observers say the MDC Alliance has made its situation worse by failing to deploy polling agents at polling stations on election day giving Zanu PF more room to manipulate the voting system.

But the opposition, which is in tatters due to internal fights, said it was confident of upsetting Mnangagwa in the coming elections by grabbing more votes from the ruling party’s strongholds.

“As the MDC Alliance, we have come up with strategies and tactics that we believe are going to give us the much-needed win against Zanu PF in rural areas,” Cde Chidziva said.

“We have designed specific programmes that are targeting rural voters.

“MDC Alliance is partnering with diasporans to raise the much-needed funds through an ‘adopt a polling station’ initiative, these funds are going to be used to cater for all expenses that arise during the elections such as paying the election agents, food, transport, among other expenses.”

To address the issue of voter apathy in rural areas especially among the youths, Cde Chidziva said the opposition party’s plan was to simply mobilise people to vote in their numbers and widen the gap so that it becomes difficult for Zanu PF to rig.

“Every citizen will be an agent, everyone will play a part in safeguarding the vote and it starts now by registering to vote in numbers,” he said.

He said the MDC Alliance will empower election agents in rural areas through provision of smartphones as well as giving them all the necessary training. Newsday